Revelation of Mystery (Kashf al Mahjub)

The Reality of Culture (Aadab آداب)

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Chapter XXIII (d)

The Reality of Culture (Aadab آداب)


The reality of Aadab آداب (culture) means the collection of virtuous qualities, therefore, a cultured person is called so because his every act is based on righteousness.  In ordinary language anyone who is acquainted with Arabic philology and grammar is called adib اديب   (cultured). But the Sufis define adab ادب as, “adab ادب involves steadfastness in good deed,” which means to remain fully cultured towards Allah both inwardly and outwardly. So, whosoever acts like that is adib اديب” (cultured) even if he is non Arab, and who does not act this way is the opposite. In conduct the phraseology and words have no value, and people with good deeds are always better than those who are just good orators.

Some Sheikh was asked that what the culture involved and he said:

“If you speak, your speech should be true and sincere, and if you act, your actions should be based on truth and justice.” The truth is although bitter but salty and good deed is though difficult but likened. When you speak your talk should be perfect and your quietness should be led by Truth.

In his book Lama, an excellent distinction as regards to Aadab has been made by Sheikh Abu Nasr Saraj, who says:

There are three classes of mankind as regards to Aadab آداب (Culture).

-          Firstly, the worldlings, whose culture mainly consists in eloquence and oratory and learning and knowledge of the nightly conversations of kings and Arabic poetry.

-          Secondly, the religious, whose culture chiefly consists in disciplining the nafs (lower soul) and correcting the limbs and observing the legal ordinances and renouncing lusts.

-          Thirdly, the elects whose culture consists for the most part in spiritual purity and keeping watch over their hearts and fulfilling their promises and guarding the states, and paying no heed to evil suggestions and maintaining the utmost  decorum at the time of presence (with Allah), and in the stations of proximity (to Allah).”

This saying is comprehensive. The different matters which it includes are discussed at several places in this book.


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Zahid Javed Rana, Abid Javed Rana, Lahore, Pakistan

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